AI Speech Tech Company Sanas Raises $32M
PALO ALTO, Calif., June 22, 2022 -- Sanas, the world's first real-time accent translation technology company, has announced a $32 million Series A, the largest Series A round in history for a speech technology company, led by Insight Partners with participation from GV, Assurant Ventures and angel investor Gokul Rajaram. Existing investors Human Capital, General Catalyst, Quiet Capital and DN Capital also participated in the round. Alorica, one of the largest BPOs in the world, has announced a strategic partnership with Sanas to take this groundbreaking technology to their 100,000 employees and 250 enterprise customers across the globe.
Sanas' accent translation technology allows for deeper personal choice when it comes to people's voices, can help increase foreign language fluency and addresses communication challenges between global teams and customers. It allows people to choose the accent they want to use in real time and preserve the speaker's authenticity, an experience that beta users and investors have described as "magical." Now, anyone can sound local on a global scale in different languages and regions – highlighting a breakthrough for multinational enterprises.
"The goal of Sanas has always been to bring people closer together and allow people to have a choice when it comes to their communication style – something that was previously only possible through extensive speech language pathology," said Maxim Serebryakov, CEO of Sanas. "Similar to how social media platforms allow users to control the way they physically appear online, this technology enables anyone to have that same control in a digital setting – but for the way they sound. With this funding, we'll be able to further our mission and build on our AI, which is taking advantage of a cutting-edge space in machine learning untapped until Sanas."
Sharath, Cofounder of Sanas highlights the high individuality of the software – explaining that it can only be used by an individual speaker, thus allowing them to control their voice, and only their voice on their sole command. The local-run software also allows for 800+ communication app capability and enterprise-grade data security. Sanas describes that there are many different reasons why one would want to manipulate their accent – beta users describe everything from fluency in foreign language, higher connection to their roots, bias elimination or simply for fun.
"We are excited to invest in our strategic partnership with Sanas and leverage their powerful linguistic translation capabilities to provide the very best CX outcomes possible in real time, at scale and without barriers, regardless of native accents and dialects," said Andy Lee, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alorica, a trusted global leader in digital customer experience (CX) solutions. "Alorica is constantly developing and investing in cutting-edge technologies that empower our 100,000 employees worldwide to deliver exceptional experiences on behalf of our clients."
One key initiative with the fresh funds is to open an Indian headquarters, bolstering Sanas' global reach and tapping a wealth of developer talent. The office will be led by demand generation and international expansion expert, Ashish Kanoongo. With the majority of the world's call centers and many R&D centers being located in the Asia-Pacific region, the company's innovative accent-translation technology will propel the wider telecom industry into the future, drastically improving how effectively global teams, contact centers, and more interact on a day-to-day basis.
A portion of the round is earmarked for talent acquisition to further R&D efforts and add to the growing team of AI and technology all-stars assembling at the company, which include recent additions Sharath Keshava Narayana as co-founder and COO, Marty (Massih) Sarim as president, Pavan Karnam as vice president of data and analytics and Dr. BalaKrishna Kolluru as vice president of engineering. These executives are among the key hires that have expanded Sanas' team by 300% in Q2 2022 alone.
As part of the round, Ganesh Bell, managing director of Insight Partners will join the board, bringing with him over 25 years of experience building and operating startups, high-growth scaleups and global conglomerates such as General Electric, SAP, PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards. Also joining the board is industry stalwart and accented founding member Ram Gupta, who has experience working with teams that have created market capitalization of over $15B, including participating in three IPOs and nine acquisitions. Ram has held board positions across many forward-thinking technology companies including Postman Inc., Nexus Venture Partners, ThinkGeek and Neeyamo, and has worked for massive global names such as IBM and WebMD.
"Insight Partners is thrilled to deepen its relationship with Sanas on such cutting-edge and transformative technology," said Bell. "As the company comes out of its stealth phase, I look forward to working with this immensely talented and passionate team to build a product that will, among many things, help eliminate the unfortunate biases and discrimination experienced by those who speak English as a second language, which includes many of Sanas' employees."
Launched in August 2021, Sanas has already captured the attention of the Fortune 500, including welcoming Assurant as one of the company's first enterprise customers.
"Sanas' real-time speech engine has the potential to disrupt and revolutionize communication," said Assurant Chief Strategy and Risk Officer Bob Lonergan. "As a global Fortune 500 company that currently serves 15 of the 50 most valuable global brands and with more than 300 million end customers, Assurant is making significant digital investments to differentiate our customer experience. Part of these investments include strategic funding and support of disrupters within connectivity, digitalization and AI automation. That's why creating a value-added partnership with Sanas is a great fit."
Sanas was established by three Stanford students coming out of the renowned Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) with the aim of increasing individual choice when it comes to the form people speak a native or foreign language powered by real-time accent translation. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Sanas' members and advisors include some of the top speech machine learning scientists in the world. For more information, visit sanas.ai.